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This podcast is not an exhaustive treatment on the subject of envisioning and equipping a small group, but it will provide you with three vital keys, which are the purpose, your leader, and the environment.
A sanctification group is for the envisioning, engaging, and equipping of believers into greater Christlikeness, which looks like loving God and others effectively.
There are all types of groups, and none of them have to be wrong, but if you want a “sanctification group,” you must state that up front. If you are not clear on the purpose of the group, other opinions and agendas could take over what you hoped to do.
And because it’s a sanctification group, it’s for Christians only. Natural people cannot understand the things of God because we discern those things spiritually. Your goal is transformation, which implies the critical work of the Spirit of God, who is the “changer of lives.”
Additionally, it will take a while for the group to become comfortable with your goals, so having folks from the “same family” is essential. You also want to establish ground rules for the group in the first meeting. It would be better you envisioned potential members before the first meeting, so they will know what they are getting themselves into before they arrive.
The leader has to be a skilled discipler, not just a “nice” person who is willing to lead. You’re looking for a true leader with a clear gift-mix that affirms their leadership gifting. The reason is that it will take a lot of wisdom, courage, discernment, and replication to lead.
The leader will model everything that he wants to accomplish in the group. He leads in transparency, accountability, building trust, and many other traits that you desire to instill into the group. The most important aspect is trust. Members are assessing the leader in two specific ways:
I cannot overstate how vital it is to build the trust, and with some folks, it could take multiple years. There is a downside of having seasonal groups or groups where folks reshuffle every so often.
For a sanctification group, you need a long-term setting for folks to build trust. This structure is also conducive for training and launching new leaders to start other groups. And you can bring a new person in every so often, but you’re not changing the core of the group dynamically.
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).